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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Feb 15 2018 1:00pm
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So, I have a confession - I initially thought Rivals of Ixalan was a bad format. I was wrong. It's certainly not my favourite, but it is not as terrible as I thought it was at the beginning. I am enjoying it though, sadly, I am not getting to play as often as I would like. Therefore, feel free to yell at me in the comments for any bonehead picks I make during the draft!

THE DRAFT

 

THE PICKS

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  Pack 1 pick 1:

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  Pack 3 pick 1:

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THE DECK

I think this deck is okay, but nothing special. Tendershoot Dryad is the best card in the deck, and I do have the Forerunner of the Empire / Needletooth Raptor combo, which I am happy about. The rest of the deck is pretty medium; I'm not a massive fan of green but the Dryad was too good to pass up.

THE MATCHES

Round one I played against an opponent running an "LSV Speical" - a white/blue/black control deck that he spoke about recently on the Limited Resources podcast. Basically, it's a deck that runs Sailor of Means to generate treasure, which allows you to then play the best cards from multiple other colours. Eventually it finishes you off with cards like Soul of the Rapids or Slippery Scoundral. Anyway, I won this match 2-0. Game one was thanks to Tendershoot Dryad, while game two was thanks mostly to Strength of the Pack and Tilonali's Crown allowing me to trample past the opponent.

In round two I faced a black/red deck that was also splashing blue, though I am not sure what for. My opponent seemed to flood fairly badly in game one, playing a Fanatical Firebrand and a Brazen Freebooters but not much else. In game 2, my opponent got off to a better start but I had the Forerunner / Raptor combo in my opening hand, which was able to win me the game quite easily. Another 2-0 win.

Round three was against a green/blue Merfolk deck. I won game one after my opponent decided to concede as soon as I played Tendershoot Dryad. Game two was my first loss for the draft; the opponent curved out and out-tempo'd me with bounce spells, and I couldn't do much about it. I ended up losing to a Siren Reaver that I tried to kill twice, and which the opponent kept saving with Dive Down. In game three I stumbled on three land for a a few turns, but thankfully my Otepec Huntmaster was allowing me to keep casting creatures. The board was stalled for the most part, but I was eventually able to play Forerunner to fetch Needletooth Raptor, and follow up with both Tendershoot Dryad and Colossal Dreadmaw for the win.

CONCLUSION

I will admit I did not expect to 3-0 this draft. Tendershoot Dryad was the all star - I already knew it was good, but it might be even better than I thought. The Forerunner of the Empire / Needletooth Raptor combo was also very powerful and, truth be told, the deck performed well because of those cards. I only cast Strength of the Pack once, and it won me the game. Of note, I found myself sideboarding out Overgrown Armasaur for Swift Warden in most matches; if I had my time over, I would have started with the Warden in the deck.

FIRST PICK, FIRST PACK

Here is a Rivals of Ixalan booster. What would you take pick one of pack one?